You can learn a lot by looking at what you’ve done over a year.
So, while I try to get better at making goals and sticking to them, I have an eye to my work here, because this has always been a place for experimentation and learning, where I develop my thoughts, my writing and my style.
So, like I did last year and the year before, I’ve looked at the 15 most trafficked posts I’ve written here.
Looking at the list I think there are two specific lessons to be learned:
- Original Reporting rocks — It’s just what I saw in Technically Philly’s roundup of top stories. In this list of 10, seven featured first-issue original reporting, two offered insider commentary and one offered a strong opinion. No aggregation, summaries or general perspective made it to the list, though I do all those kinds of posts too and those kind of posts dominated my 2008 list and had more influence on my 2009 list.
- Time matters — This site gets a relatively low-level of traffic (the top post on this list received fewer than 500 hits this year), so the sheer amount of time a post is up is magnified. With bigger traffic sites, the first week of traffic can largely overcome a long tail. However in my case, just one of the 10 posts was created in the last four months, and I don’t think that’s due to lack of relatively meaningful content. So, with lower traffic sites, the longer a post is up has a greater impact on its overall traffic than with higher traffic sites.
That said, here are the posts. Draw your own conclusions:
10. Newsworks: WHYY online news brand launching means a lot to these legacies — Nov. 22
Find the other nine below.
9. U.S. theatrical premiere, Madeleine Albright and what it means for local journalism — June 7
8. Inquirer: My first couch surfing experience — Apr. 16
7. Announced proposal for William Penn Foundation hyperlocal investment (Jan. 13) — On an initiative that just had its greater details released last month.
6. How to set up a freelancing sole proprietorship — Feb. 8
5. Welcome to Fishtown [Jan. 8] — In which I announced my home purchase.
4. Stories that never ran: What does a sex columnist look like? — Jan. 20
3. NewsWorks: WHYY will announce new hyperlocal news initiative for northwest Philadelphia (April 12) — In which I first wrote about the news initiative that was more recently detailed in the No. 10 post above.
2. Murder rates in Philadelphia and other cities are all marketing — July 2
1. Stories that never ran: ‘Can the Devon Theater survive in Mayfair?’ — Jan. 6
Any favorites? I was a little surprised by that top story.
Less trafficked, strong posts from 2010
And also, because it isn’t all about traffic, here are six posts that I think are among my best that didn’t get the most traffic:
- William Penn Foundation three-year $2.4 million investment in Philly journalism — Dec. 22
- If I had unlimited money to invest in growing Philadelphia journalism — Dec. 13
- Patch is about as evil as Starbucks (and that’s less than you might want to believe) — Nov. 8
- What the Knight News Challenge could learn from ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’ — Nov. 19
- Lessons I’ve learned on writing better ledes — March 1
- The Wire: yeah, the HBO Baltimore drama is mad decent — Sept. 17
- Ten things a journalist should never do — Jan. 27
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